Sleep. It’s something that almost everyone has a love/hate relationship with. Whether it it enjoying time spent sleeping in on the weekend, or oversleeping for that 8 AM class you signed up for. Regardless, sleep plays an important role in all our lives, and it is especially important for students who need to balance an academic and social life. Getting an adequate amount of sleep is crucial for both physical and mental health. But the question remains: how much sleep does an individual really need?
Much like food and water, sleep is essential for human survival. In today’s fast paced society, many people face chronic sleep deprivation. The Sleep Foundation recommends that young adults get anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of sleep. This range goes down as an individual ages. Older adults aged 65 years and older only require about 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep is important to be productive the next day, as well as for preventing illnesses and disease. However, it should be noted that the amount of sleep is not the only thing that is important. What truly matters, is the quality of an individual’s sleep.
Signs of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation can take on many forms and it can present itself through various symptoms. Some of these symptoms include: feeling the need to sleep in on weekends, having trouble waking up in the morning, requiring an alarm to wake up in the morning, and requiring naps to get through the day. I’m sure after reading these symptoms, a lot of people will realize they have fallen prey to sleep deprivation. This isn’t that surprising, considering that the CDC reports that about a third of Americans suffer from sleep deprivation. If you think the symptoms listed above are not a big deal, you should consider that sleep deprivation can impair cognitive abilities. Sleep deprivation can have drastic effects on the brain. These effects can go as far as reduced blood flow to the brain and slowing down metabolism. Bad news for athletes and students alike.
How to Improve Sleeping Patterns
All this information begs the question; how can I achieve a better night’s sleep? For starters, it has become common knowledge that establishing a regimented sleeping schedule is crucial. This means going to bed and waking up around the same time every day. Additionally, one should avoid stimulus from electronic devices, such as cell phones or laptops before going to bed. Furthermore, exercising daily is not only good for one’s overal health, but it will also help you sleep better at night. Thus no, rest is not for the weak. In fact, a lack of rest will make you feel weak, tired, and prone to getting sick.